09 May, 2010

The Associated Press: Catholics sent predator priest to remote village

Here's a story that captures the essence of how these scandals played out in a manner that reflects so badly on the Church. It involves a missionary priest who was an abuser. He was convicted and sent for treatment upon which the 'experts' gave him the ecclesial version of the 'good housekeeping seal of approval' and then sent back out into ministry where he abused again.

Now the Church is being condemned for simply following the advice of the psychologists etc. as it looks as if they had more concern for the priest than for his victims. I know that this has been case for quite a few of these predators. The Church accepted the wisdom of experts that offending priests could be 'cured' through various forms of cognitive behavior therapy.

My question is: why is the Church not suing these mental heath professionals? In many cases (not all for sure, but for many) it was the assessment of these professionals that was the reason that many of these predators were sent back into ministry. Perhaps if the Church used the same legal tactics that they are being subjected to they might be able to mitigate the financial costs and regain some moral standing in the eyes of many.

The Associated Press: Catholics sent predator priest to remote village

10 comments:

  1. That's a great question, Tim. Why not, indeed?

    Then I might follow up with the question of how did they choose these particular "professionals" to begin with? What qualifications did these people have that attracted the church officials? Was it simply that they said things that echoed the wishes of their employers ('cause if that's how they got to be the church's advisors on the issue, then, among the list of charges to be brought would be one of impersonating a health professinal, as the only "profession" they could have would be that of confidence trickster).

    Institute of the Living has a long history, and in some areas, they might be leaders in their field. But if they are treating sexual abuse as a sexual issue, they are treating the wrong "disease" with the wrong tools. And if they don't know that by now, they need to be decertified until they do.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tim, Lady Janus,

    You probably won't agree with me, but this is what I think. All this counciling of "predator" priests by "professionals" sounds like a doubtful proposition. The style of life they are in is unnatural and they were not meant for it to begin with. The best solution for priests is to be born again, leave the priesthood immediately, find a job, find a good Reformed or Presbyterian church, meet a good christian woman and get married, and maybe even have a family. Many have done it. Life could be wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous11 May, 2010

    Hi STG,

    You write: "The best solution for priests is to be born again, leave the priesthood immediately, find a job, find a good Reformed or Presbyterian church, meet a good christian woman and get married, and maybe even have a family. Many have done it. Life could be wonderful."

    While I would agree that leaving the priesthood and finding a good job are probably good next steps, I would take exception with your other remedies. Being "born again" or changing denominations are not good substitutes for professional psycholgical help. As for such a broken sexual predator finding and marrying a good christian women - I think you need to give that a advice a big re-think. Anyone that messed up this badly needs psychological help and dragging a family (with children perhaps) into the equation is probably not a good idea unless and until some serious healing has taken place.

    Many may have followed the road you describe, but I highly doubt that it leads to the kind of successful outcomes that you claim. If you have any data to the contrary, I would be happy to review it.

    Cheers...Martin

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wayne, you're not getting it. It's not about "lifestyle." It's not about sex at all. It's about the abuse of power and authority. Sex is only the tool.

    Predators are bullies and sadists who get their jollies from deliberately inflicting pain on those who cannot fight back. They can -- and do -- use any means to inflict this pain, but the one that gives them the "best" results is sexual abuse...because their victims do not tell on them for fear of being publicly shamed!

    As a society, we aid and abet these monsters by insisting that sex is dirty and shameful unless it is "properly blessed" by certain narrow circumstances.

    If we get rid of the idea of those narrow circumstances, we will go a long way to getting rid of sexual predators. They will no longer have anywhere to hide, because their victims will come forward more readily.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Martin,

    "While I would agree that leaving the priesthood and finding a good job are probably good next steps, I would take exception with your other remedies. Being "born again" or changing denominations are not good substitutes for professional psycholgical help."

    You make a good point in that psychological help or professional counciling would be necessary. The points I made were not intended to mean a former sexual abuser should just run out and find a wife (and have a family). This was just a very basic framework I suggested. The being born again part must naturally have evidence of a changed behaviour. In order to change behaviour there has to be a complete change in attitude. This is part of what being born again would result in. There has to be a turning away from this kind of behaviour or in biblical terms a repentance. But an individual may not have the power to do this on his own. That is why he may also need as part of the transition good professional counciling, and also some ongoing biblical counciling by a qualified minister or capable Bible teacher. The physchological counciling might be done by a trained christian councilor who is qualifed to deal with this type of thing.

    I certainly was not suggesting a sexual abuser who has not been healed should run out and get married. There are definitely, as you said, some important intermediate stages in the process.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Lady Janus,

    "Wayne, you're not getting it. It's not about "lifestyle." It's not about sex at all. It's about the abuse of power and authority. Sex is only the tool."

    I can agree with that point of view to some extent. But what would your solution be? I say there is no future for them by being counciled by a psychologist and then sent back to continue on in the priesthood. When I said "lifestyle", I was thinking about the whole "vows of celebacy thing" and the kind of unnatural life they live, which they agree to by a vow at the beginning.

    According to Loraine Boettner, who wrote an in- depth book on Roman Catholicism, "Roman authorities extol the celibate state as peculiarly holy, and the Roman Church presumes to teach that the marriage of clergy is 'a pollution and a sacrilege.'"

    Another non-RC theologian, Charles Hodge, wrote "The very fact that God created man, male and female, declaring that it was not good for either to be alone, and constituted marriage in paradise, should be decisive on this subject. The doctrine which degrades marriage by making it a less holy state, has its foundations in Manichaeism or Gnosticism. It assumes that evil is essentially connected with matter; that sin has its seat and source in the body; that holiness is attainable only through asceticism and 'neglecting of the body'; that because the 'vita angelica' is a higher form of life than that of men here on earth, therefore marriage is a degradation. The doctrine of the Romish Church on this subject, therefore is strongly anti-Christian."--Charles Hodge

    There should be enough meat in what these writers say to alert almost anyone to the fact there is a serious problem here, and it is time to do some serious study and reflection.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Martin,

    May I also add in addition to good counciling, one would need a lot of prayer and the grace of God. God can change the heart in such matters.

    Wayne

    ReplyDelete
  8. "But what would your solution be? I say there is no future for them by being counciled by a psychologist and then sent back to continue on in the priesthood."

    I agree, as long as being in the priesthood involves interracting with other people over whom they have any kind of authority and control. If they want to remain priests, they should be placed where they can do no harm, perhaps working as archivists or secretaries for other priests.

    "When I said 'lifestyle', I was thinking about the whole 'vows of celebacy thing' and the kind of unnatural life they live, which they agree to by a vow at the beginning."

    Celibacy is not necessarily unnatural. There are lots of people who never marry, and who also manage to have happy and fulfilled lives. Just because you and I find marriage to be to our liking does not mean that everyone will find it so. And, as we all know, marriage has nothing to do with sex. Or vice versa.

    But in case you actually meant chastity -- which is a different thing altogether from celibacy -- I refer you again to what I said: sexual abuse has nothing to do with sex; it has to do with power and control -- sex is only the tool by which it is accomplished.

    As for those whom you quoted, let me say this: Theologians should stick to theology and leave sex to biologists.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Lady Janus,

    "Celibacy is not necessarily unnatural. There are lots of people who never marry, and who also manage to have happy and fulfilled lives. Just because you and I find marriage to be to our liking does not mean that everyone will find it so. And, as we all know, marriage has nothing to do with sex. Or vice versa."

    The kind of celebacy we are speaking about is the enforced celebacy of the RCC. That is unnatural. It was brought in gradually. It was apparently not enforced until around 1000 A.D. The kind of enforced celebacy of Rome is not taught in the Bible; it is purely an invention of the hierarchy for reasons of control and economics. The Apostle Peter was married as were many of the Old Testament priests and the New Testament Apostles.

    Sure other people who never marry may be perfectly content. But they are free to marry if they so choose.

    Priests are in a different situation. It is much more difficult for priests because they are under extreme pressure to continue with what they are doing. Leaving is not an easy option. There may be difficult roadblocks to leaving. There have been some good books written by former priests who tell what it was like.

    I wouldn't say marriage and sex have nothing to do with each other. They are closely connected. But I will agree there are marriages where sex plays a very small part.

    ReplyDelete
  10. "The kind of celebacy we are speaking about is the enforced celebacy of the RCC. That is unnatural. It was brought in gradually. It was apparently not enforced until around 1000 A.D. The kind of enforced celebacy of Rome is not taught in the Bible; it is purely an invention of the hierarchy for reasons of control and economics. The Apostle Peter was married as were many of the Old Testament priests and the New Testament Apostles."

    All pretty much true. But it has nothing to do with the discussion at hand, which is that sexual abuse is not connected to sexual preferences, and that an abuser will not be "cured" by being married -- he will most likely transfer his abuse to his own family..

    ReplyDelete

Followers of this blog:

Blog Archive

Google Analytics